Les portes de Linares, 1989

The Gates of Linares, 1989
Installation, Various dimensions

Jordi Benito (Granollers, 1951 – Barcelona, 2008) was one of the most radical Catalan artists in the period that runs from the 1970s to the early 21st century. After his first conceptual actions as part of the Grup de Treball, where he experimented with minimal natural elements, the discovery of body art led him to highly complex, theatrical performances where painting, music and ritual were employed in the quest for the total work of art. Often taking the resistance of his own body to the limit, his actions throughout the 1980s explored notions of the sacred, mystery and sacrifice. The Gates of Linares condenses these characteristics and represents the moment he abandons performance for large-scale installation. In this proposal, Benito left behind his more radical action art, with its Wagnerian references, finding a renewed starting point in Goya, tauromachy, the image of the Passion of Christ and the music of Carles Santos. With its eight fragments or episodes, the installation brings together a multiplicity of components, whether literary, historical, experiential or sacred, which taken together enhance the symbolic values of the materials employed.

The Gates of Linares is the staging of a suspended moment. It recalls the events which occurred in 1947 in the Linares bullring, when the bullfighter Manolete, who Benito considered to be the total artist, was killed after being gored on the same day he had chosen for his career finale. Benito’s gaze, however, picks up on the testimony of the bull’s life. Tools and materials from farm life and rural trades are arranged as still lives, or raised in crosses as an image of the Passion, contrasting with civilising features, which appear in clear decadence. The bulls’ bodies are suspended in the air, in the act of falling, while pianos are placed with their keyboards against the wall or about to break in half. In turn, a block of calcium carbonate known as ‘blanco de España’ receives the impact of a bull’s dead weight, fracturing the white pigment. With the death of total art, the artist sees himself in the body of the bull, as both are held in suspension over the piano of Carles Santos.

Technical details

Original title:
Les portes de Linares
Registration number:
Benito, Jordi
Date created:
MACBA Collection. Barcelona City Council long-term. Gift of Rafael Tous
Object type:
Various materials
Various dimensions
MACBA Collection. Long-term loan of Barcelona City Council. Gift of Rafael Tous
© Jordi Benito, VEGAP, Barcelona
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